The Pro Bowl selection actually meant something more than a contract incentive and a free vacation? When players were honored to be recognized for excellence and actually played hard to reward the fans for watching them all season? When unless you were REALLY injured, you were there and they didn't have to add the 14th best player at the position because everyone else turned it down?
Remember when there was a 3rd place Championship Game between the two teams that lost the conference championships? The game was held the day before the Super Bowl and both teams truly showed up and fought for the right to be known as the third best team in the league. Imagine a game next Saturday between the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings? I'd watch one more chance to see Brett Favre melt down one more time and watch Rex Ryan boast and predict one more wrong thing!
Remember when they was a College All-Star Game between the best college players and the Super Bowl Champion? That was a long time ago and stopped pretty quickly when they realized the NFL really wasn't for it and had nothing to gain but so much to lose if they got injured or actually lost the game, which they occasionally did. Can you imagine what it would be like if there was still that game and we could see the Indianapolis Colts or New Orleans Saints take on Tim Tebow, Ndamukong Suh and others? What would it have been like a few years ago to see the 2006 Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers take on a College All-Star team with Reggie Bush and Vince Young? There would have been some cool matchups over the years.
When the Baltimore Ravens won Super Bowl 35 in 2001, the following NFL Draft included future stars such as Michael Vick, LaDanian Tomlinson, Santana Moss, Deuce McAllister, Reggie Wayne and the Ravens' own Todd Heap. That would have been a great game but with that Ravens' defense, the collegians wouldn't have stood a chance!
Perhaps it's a good thing there wasn't a game in 1996 when the Ravens selected Ray Lewis with the 25th pick in the first round. If Ray had that type of chance to show himself off against the pros, he might not have still been there when the 25th pick came around!
Ahhh, the good old days, when every decision wasn't based on the financial futures of the players, the teams or the league. Remember when?